The Band of Amazing Friends
Gregory Blanke Guitar/Sax/Flute/Harmonica
Greg and I met in the 1980’s Busking and we have played together off and on ever since. Greg has an amazing ability on any instrument he touches except the Bassoon. Greg got his start on the flute at age 10. It wasn’t long before he picked up the saxophone and eventually the harmonica and slide guitar. Greg has a long history of Busking in the streets of Seattle. Whether it’s for an audience of one or a few thousand, Greg bares his soul and performs at a level that will send chills down your spine, every time. Greg also performs with Medicine Hat and Atlantis.
Randy Hansen Guitar on “Draw the Line”
Randy is a living legend guitarist that has channeled guitarists from the other side. Randy Hansen is a consummate performer with incredible depth who has always captured the imagination of his audience, drawing the masses into his experience, sending-off fans spell bound by his explosive showmanship and mastery of the electric guitar. Years of hard work and relentless perfection of his craft, he has earned the distinction of being a world-class guitar hero. He has followed a “let’s just do it” attitude all his life performing for millions throughout his career. Born in Seattle, Washington on December 8, 1954, he began playing guitar when he was ten and later introduced to the work of the other Seattle guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, when he was thirteen years old.
By sixteen he had his first band, Popsicle and by the age of eighteen he was a professional musician. He joined Kid Chrysler and The Cruisers in 1974 and spent four years with the group. It was with the Cruisers that he began developing what would become his world-renowned tribute to Jimi Hendrix. By 1978 Hansen had named his act Machine Gun and went on the road, amazing audiences and other musicians with his prowess and panache. Hansen was hired by acclaimed film director Francis Ford Coppola to contribute to the sound track of the 1980 Academy Award Winner for Best Sound, “Apocalypse Now”. Hansen’s guitar pyrotechnics replaced parts originally performed by an eighty-piece orchestra and eighty-voice choir with his own orchestration on guitar and bass. The film led to a recording contract with Capitol Records and ever since has released numerous CD’s in Europe. Today Hansen’s’ audience is worldwide, through persistent demand by the fans in America and Europe, whether with The Randy Hansen Band or working with other entertainer’s. Steve Miller, Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, The Firm, Queen), Buddy Miles, Don Wilson (The Ventures), Alan White (YES, John Lennon), Sammy Hagar, Herbie Hancock, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Cray, Roger Fisher (Heart), Bob Segar and Hendrix alumni Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, are just a few of the many musicians he’s performed with.
Lari Peterson (Engineer) Guitar on “Step Off”
Lari is a zany, wacky wild man that has been part of my life and past lives, amazing Engineer, Musician and Songwriter.
Rolf Larson. B-3 Organ/Piano/Synth
Rolf is the Musical Director, Keyboardist, Accordionist, Harmonica Player, Guitarist and foil to my bad jokes. Rolf was with the Charles White Band for 15 + years, Winner for Best Blues. Keyboardist Rolf Larson, is a veteran performer skillful, and adept on Piano, Organ and an amazing synthesizer programmer. His sense of humor is a delight.
Steve Haeck Pianist / Keyboardist
The Professor, Stevie, is a retired music teacher that inspired me to play again. He taught music in the public schools in Alaska and Washington for 35 years. He lives in Seattle, teaches privately, and plays piano for the Adams Elementary School choir. Steve enjoys all styles of music: playing and listening to jazz, classical, and rock. He plays keys in the classic rock band Atlantis and in Neal Storme’s Band Of Amazing Friends.
Jimmy Marsh Bass on the tunes: Step Off, Hand Me Down World, There She Was
Solid, True, and Amazing. Jimmy’s a Seattle-based bassist, with a passion for live playing as well as recording. Look for Jimmy’s contributions with Neal as well as Jessica’s Voices and The Swamp Dogs, and don’t be surprised to find him out jamming with your favorite rock, R&B and blues artists around the Northwest.
Deanna Kenison Bass-Talk to Me, Papa Don’t Think He’ll Make It
Dee and I go back to the Busking days; Dee is a true Musician who puts her all into every piece that she plays. Dee plays and sings with her Husband Kelly and Pamela Suzanne Burdwell in Emerald Fire. She has a long history of Musical excellence on Guitar, Bass and Vocally.
Tracy Arrington Bass
Pieces of the Rain, Draw the Line, Goodbye
A true Pro that came in and said I can make that part sing on my Bass. Tracy Arrington, aka “Big Dog” lives up to his name. Born and raised in Seattle, Washington Tracy has made his home all over the world with his music The sizeable talent of this young bassist has taken him on the road with the Steve Miller Band, The Doobie Brothers, Paul Rogers and Tower of Power. Tracy began doing session work at the age of 15, doing jingles around the Seattle area, and miscellaneous pop recordings between Seattle, Los Angeles and Nashville. His first band was with his brother Mark, Jay and Doug Roberts, both sons of the late Howard Roberts – the founder of GIT and famous for his work on early Hollywood television soundtracks such as the Twilight Zone and Beverly Hillbillies. Howard took the talented bassist under his wing and used his assistance on the Chroma guitar training method for beginners. Tracy joined Seattle favorite “The Fat James Band”. This turned into a seven-year stint, giving him the opportunity to tour in the United States and abroad. They opened for such bands as the Doobie Brothers, the Turtles, and Kansas. The Fat James Band also backed Paul Rogers for several shows in the Northwest during this period. Tracy left Fat James to play with Curtis Salgado from Portland, Oregon. Salgado already had a host of credits under his belt, having fronted such bands as Santana, Roomful of Blues, the Robert Cray Band, and Albert Collins. It was Salgado who was the inspiration for the movie “The Blues Brothers”, which starred John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Curtis asked Tracy if he’d be willing to play a couple of gigs, but Tracy’s talent earned him a three year tenure with the band. During this period, Tracy opened for acts such as Tower of Power, George Thoroughgood & the Destroyers, the Steve Miller band, John Lee Hooker, and Sons of Chaplin. In addition to playing bass, Tracy assisted Salgado with musical direction, song arrangement, and singing. When Tracy wasn’t on the road with Curtis he backed Little Milton and substituted as a bassist for Eric Benet. He played in Seattle cover band Gruvbox and also put together bands for Seattle Seahawk Ricky Waters and North Carolina based singer Melissa Reeves. Currently, Arrington can be heard on the album with Curtis Salgado called “Soul Activated” which hit the shelves January 2001. This album earned 3.5 stars on Billboard immediately after it’s release and features the Memphis Horns, Jimmy Vaughn and Lou Ann Barton. In conjunction with the launch of the CD Tracy has recently relocated to Los Angeles, CA where he plans to further his musical career.
G. Valmont Thomas Bass
Mercedez, Marijuana, You Know Me, Everybody Knows and You are not Alone
https://www.facebook.com/g.valmont.thomas?fref=tsValmont Thomas is a true talent, he adds to every part he plays emotionally and dramatically. A professional actor (member AEA, SAG/AFTRA) G. Val was a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s acting company from 1998 – 2012. He has been a director/actor in the Pacific Northwest Theatre scene since 1981 (the year he met Neal Storme working in a restaurant and playing street music together). He left the road after two years of touring Western Canada in the band New Moon Rising when they broke up in Powell River, B.C and returned to the Seattle in 1984 where he played with a number of local bands before concentrating on his career in the professional theatre. Former Artistic Director of Seattle’s G.A.P. Theatre, Mr. Thomas was a founding Board Member of TPS (Theatre Puget Sound) as well as board member of the Washington Alliance for Theatre Educators. He served on the faculty of The Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Directing/Acting). An audio book narrator for Blackstone Audio, he has many titles to his credit. A popular acting teacher and a sought-after audition coach, he holds a BA (acting) from Western Washington University and an MFA (directing) from Penn State University.
Max Campbell (the Mighty Max) Drums, Timbales
The Mighty Max is the heartbeat of this record: And Live he thrills, chills, and amazes. “It’s been a long trip, 10 girlfriends and 2 wives, thank god Neal’s got me here.” Max loves to drum and captivates visually, exhibiting pure joy in his playing.
Tor Dietrichson “THE’ Percussion Master Congas, – Mercedez, Marijuana, Draw the Line,
Tor Dietrichson is a percussionist, vocalist, composer, music educator and nationally recognized recording artist with over 35 years of experience. His extensive knowledge of both East Indian tabla and Afro Cuban conga gives him a unique perspective among his peers. He has been a grant recipient from the Wash. State Arts Commission to teach Indian tabla drums and has received the prestigious Min-On Art Award from Daisaku Ikeda, who is the leader of the Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist lay organization.
Nora Michaels Background Vocals
The one, The only Chanteuse our Fabulous Nora, Whatta voice, Whatta Lady, Whatta Friend. Nora, the original Blues Chanteuse, is best known for her work with Seattle Women in Rhythm & Blues. Her one woman tribute to Edith Piaf, “La Mome Piaf”, has taken her all around the world. On television, her cable access show “On the Beat with Nora Michaels” won Best Variety Program in the Northwest. Also on TV, Nora was featured on the PBS American Masters series “Yours For A Song.” Nora has shared the stage with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Bonnie Raitt, Marianne Faithful and Sam the Sham to name just a few. Currently she sings and records with Neal Storme and the Amazing Friends, whose new CD “Ay B Si” is available now. “Live performance is what I love best!”
Pamela Suzanne Burdwell, Guitar, Mandolin, Irish Bouzouki, Mandolin and Vocals
The magic flows around her and comes out beautifully in 4 octaves. Her Mother was the Church Organist, who sang and played in all the local Musical Groups, Sweet Adeline’s Beauty Shop Chorale, Musical Theater, Weddings, etc…She said Pam was “singing before she was talking”!!! Dad shared His Love of Lyrical Messages and Intricate Harmonies! (i.e… Simon & Garfunkel, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Nat King Cole, etc…)Pamela left home at 17, with first husband, Harold Guio, to travel throughout the Midwest, playing “Easy Listening Music”, as “Music Box” at Holiday and Ramada Inns across the Land! They settled in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in 1980, to raise their daughter, Sarafina, attend many Musical Courses at North Idaho College, and form a Classic~Rock Band, called “Pavlov’s Dogs”, later renamed to “Flashback”. The 2nd marriage, to Michael FitzPatrick, took her on a detour back to California, then up to Seattle, WA, in August of 1987, where they began Busking under the Name “Anthem” at Pike Place Market, and met Neal Storme and Greg Blanke. Fast friendships were formed, as well as lots of musical arrangements, when they’d all join in on one another’s’ sets, down in “The Cave”! They began hosting a Local Open Mic, which many of the Market Performers would attend, and many more musical interactions forwarded the process of teaching them to read each other’s minds!!! “Anthem” became “Electric Anthem” when they added Deanna Kenison on Bass Guitar, and Tim Melcher, on Drums. Pamela founded a Female Group called “Fable” with Deanna Kenison, Leanne Trevalyan, Christine Gunn, and Geton Wolfe, playing Local Festivals and Concerts. Fable gave way to “Emerald Fire” with Deanna and her Husband, Kelley Kenison, and they still play occasional shows, between working too hard, and collaborating with other musicians! She spent 13 & ½ Years at “Lark in the Morning Rare and Unusual Musical Instrument Shoppe”, furthering her understanding and love for Early Music, Ballads, Unusual Sounds, and Eccentric People!!! Weaving in, out, and around each other’s lives, Pamela was honored to be included in the Vocals on both of Neal’s Recording Projects, and has recently begun to play Rhythm Guitar with the Amazing Friends, as well! Singing and playing with Neal and Greg has been a joyful outlet for Pamela for nearly 30 years, and hopes are high that the music will play on, for Many Years to Come!!!
Caroline Schimke Background Vocals
Her energy and style show through. Moss has never gathered on Caroline. From a Bay Area war protester in her early years and concert enthusiast. Later studying horticulture and on to living communally in Northern California, working in the Alaska fisheries, boat building and as an Interior Designer of Super Yachts, coordinating with clients and Shipyards around the world. These and other experiences have shaped who she is and what she loves. To Caroline the ability of music to raise compassion and awareness is self-evident as she has worked as a Singer/Producer/Wrangler of the talented cats that are the Band of Amazing Friends. Neal Storme’s songs contain the messages of social justice, heartache, hope and renewal that carry on her beliefs. Throwing her heart and soul into “Ay B Si” has been a hell of a ride and recording at Vagrant Records and Robert Lang Studios a mind bending experience. Caroline is currently studying with world famous singer and performer, Pamela Moore (Sister Mary from Queensryche).
These folks put their all into the choir of the Amazing Friends
Nora Hempseed Michaels
Pamela Suzanne Burdwell
Shelley Dawn Early
Neal Storme LLC ©Streetsongzzz2016